By Tracey Webb Follow @WebbWriterguru
Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, November 21, 2013
1. Senate Democrats drop the bomb. Out of frustration over Republicans blocking President Obama's judicial and executive nominees, Senate Democrats voted to change the chamber's filibuster rules. Under the old rules, breaking a filibuster required 60 votes. But by backing the so-called "nuclear option," the Democratically-controlled Senate can now end the filbuster with 51 votes. "It is time to get the Senate working again, not for the good of the current democratic majority or some future Republican majority, but for the good of the United States of America. It is time to change." said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) Nevada. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell suggested Democrats were only trying to change the subject. "This is not a very proud day in the history of the Senate," said McConnell. "In order to distract attention away from Obamacare, the Senate has just broken the rules in order to change the rules." Will the change clear the path for the President's nominees or ramp up an already bitterly partisan environment in the Senate? Try both.
2. GOP's Obamacare playbook. House Republicans are getting a fresh game plan for taking on President Obama's signature legislation. The new strategy memo is entitled "Because of Obamacare... I lost my insurance and includes samples of talking points, videos and op-eds. "The administration now has a serious competence problem. Healthcare.gov is so much more than a website. The website should have been the easy part," the playbook reads. The Republican playbook is getting some pushback from the White House. "In the playbook, there's not a single word devoted to helping constituents enroll or offering an alternative idea to help Americans gain access to quality, affordable care," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
3. Americans: Obama's power dwindling. With his job approval ratings at record lows, a majority of Americans now believe President Obama has less power to shape events in Washington than Republicans in Congress. A new CNN /ORC poll finds 50% believe congressional Republicans will have more influence over the direction the nation takes over the next year, while only 42% believe the President will have more influence. But the poll has a sliver of good news for Obama. 47% want him to be in charge, while 45% say the GOP should have more influence over the country.
4. Christie: "2016 is a long way away." New Jersey Gov. and potential 2016 White House contender Chris Christie has officially taken the reins of the Republican Governors Association. But he was quick to deflect speculation about his future political plans, saying it's a distraction from his group's task at hand. "We have 36 races. We have 20 incumbent governors up in 2014," said Christie. "And I think, any one of us, in our individual capacity or many of us, as leaders of this organization, or the executive committee, start thinking about 2016 at our own peril but worse, at the peril of our own colleagues."
5. Florida's ex-gov. shows new signs of political life. A new poll finds former Florida Gov. Charlie Christ leading the state's incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott. A Quinnipiac survey finds Crist, a former Republican who became a Democrat last year, leading Scott 47 to 40 percent. Christ's seven point advantage is down from his 10 point lead over Scott in a Quinnipiac poll taken in June. The new poll also found that by a margin of 53 to 37 percent, Floridians don't think Scott deserves re-election. The Florida governor’s race could be one of the country's marquee political matchups of 2014.